I know that many leaders are losing sleep about low levels of employee engagement. So you think it would make sense to actively pursue engagement, right? I mean, who would want any disengaged employees?

Okay, I agree: it would be great to have all your employees going home every day thinking to themselves,

“Wow, this is an awesome job! It aligns with who I am and where I’m going professionally, and it allows me to be very successful personally, while still contributing to the success of the enterprise. If someone were to ask me how likely would I be to refer someone to work here, I would totally give it a 10.”

So here’s the problem: if you want that, then you will start to focus your energy on getting that. You will ask yourself, how can I make my people more engaged? And you might think about things you can do to engage them more. But engagement is NOT the result of you trying to engage them. That’s not how it works. Engagement is the result of an awesome company with a culture that is tightly aligned with what drives success.

Don’t fall into the trap of trying to engage your people. The levers you will pull that yield better engagement are not about engagement at all. They’re about structure, and process, and technology, and office design, and a whole host of things that you need to do inside your organization to make it more effective for everyone.

So it’s okay to want engagement, but don’t focus on it. Focus on your culture, and you’ll get the engagement.

image credit

Jamie Notter